Monthly Archives: February 2020

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    Senate capital budget proposal prioritizes homelessness, environment and school construction

Senate capital budget proposal prioritizes homelessness, environment and school construction

February 20th, 2020|

The Senate Democrats’ proposed supplemental capital budget makes strong investments in housing, shelter, environmental cleanups and school construction.

“Supplemental capital budgets are always much smaller than in main budget years,” said Sen. David Frockt, vice chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and the Senate’s lead capital budget writer. “This year our budget only had $78 million in bond capacity. Nevertheless, our budget proposal spends nearly one-third of that capacity on shelter and affordable housing, reflecting Senate Democrats’ priority to assist our local partners who continue to struggle with the crisis.”

The proposal would provide $25 million to help alleviate homelessness — the largest investment of its kind ever in a supplemental capital budget. Of that funding, $15 million would go to increasing shelter capacity in areas where large numbers of people are experiencing chronic homelessness. The remaining $10 million is dedicated to maintaining affordability of existing housing.

“The supplemental capital budget we’ve proposed is a true reflection of the needs of Washington state,” said Sen. Mark Mullet, vice chair of the capital budget. “Our communities need more access to affordable housing and to shelter beds. This investment will make a difference in the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

These investments build upon last year’s capital budget, which invested records sums in housing and behavioral health treatment facilities.

The proposal invests $31.2 million in toxics cleanup and stormwater assistance to local governments, using funds generated by a measure passed during the 2019 legislative session. This bill sponsored by Frockt changed the way petroleum companies are taxed under the Model Toxics Control Act.

School construction projects receive $58.3 million statewide, and an additional $15 million funds is included for seismic safety improvements in K-12 schools.

The full proposal can be found here. The budget will be heard at 3:30 p.m. today in the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Senate passes bill increasing Medicaid rates

February 18th, 2020|

A bill passed Monday by the Washington State Senate would expand access to Washington’s health care system by increasing Medicaid rates.

Senate Bill 6676, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt and Sen. Emily Randall, increases the Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care providers to at least 15 percent above the medical assistance rates in effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Reimbursement rates for pediatric critical care, neonatal critical care, and neonatal intensive care providers must be at least 21 percent above the medical assistance rates in effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

The bill also requires the Health Care Authority to direct Medicaid managed care plans to increase primary care rates through adoption of a uniform rate increase for network providers.

“In recent years many practices in both the adult and the pediatric space have stopped taking Apple Health clients,” said Frockt (D-Seattle). “This limits and delays the care available to these vulnerable populations.  Our goal is to stem the tide and expand access to the care that is so necessary for Washingtonians to live long, healthy lives.”

“Medicaid expansion saved my family. When my sister was born with severe disabilities, Medicaid alone allowed her to get the care she needed,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton). “That early experience — and stories from families like mine who depend on Apple Health, our state’s Medicaid program — inspire me every day. They’re why I was proud to introduce SB 6128, expanding post-partum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 365 days, and why I’m so proud to be a sponsor of 6676, ensuring that the doctors who provide essential primary care services are able to continue doing so.  We are all striving to ensure that Washingtonians have reliable, secure coverage that gives them the peace of mind to care for themselves and their families.”

SB 6676 passed with a unanimous vote.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.